BTN: Where Will the Packer Pass Attack Rank in 2016?

Posted by  J.R. Augustine   in  ,      1 year ago     154 Views     4 Comments  

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Packers Passing Attack 2016This question was asked during our live show on our GreenBay Packer Nation Facebook fan page. The actual question was whether the Packer passing attack would rank #3 in the league in 2016. I think that’s a little bold for the 2016 season. Possible, but bold. Still, I think everyone in Packer Nation is confident that the passing attack will bounce back from it’s 25th rank showing in 2015.

But, just how high will they bounce?

Most Dangerous Substance on Earth - Packer Offense

There are a couple key points to consider when contemplating just how dynamic this resurgence can be. The state of the Packers themselves, and the improvement or decline that other teams have made in the off season.

The Packer Passing Game

Jordy Nelson

Jordy Nelson will be back in 2016. That alone changes the face of this team. I don’t think he’ll generate 1500 yards, but he’ll be back. Every Packer fan will be waiting with bated breath to see if Jordy will be able to regain his pre-injury form. I’m quite confident that he will. Of course, I’m also quite confident that McCarthy is going to be very cautious about getting Jordy reps. Especially in the early going.

I see Nelson getting back in his rhythm, loving the game, lighting it up on the deep ball, but only generating about 1200 to 1300 yards due to lower early reps.

Randall Cobb

Cobb will also be back and will benefit from both the return of his health and the return of Nelson. Last season Randall struggled through injury. Because he’s such a warrior, I don’t really think any of us knew just how hurt he was until the end of the season. I believe Randall will be close to his career best yardage as teams return their focus to Nelson’s side of the field.

Third Receiver

I think the battle for the number three receiver position will end up being rather irrelevant. The team has so much talent at that position that any one of those guys would be more than capable. I’d say, regardless of who wins that spot, they will add another 500 yards in production to the offense.

Tight Ends

I’m going to be watching Jared Cook closely. His measurables and style remind me a lot of Jermichael Finley. Finley was a insane specimen at tight end. I’d watch him play and wonder… “How do you possibly cover the guy?” Fortunately for most defenses, he struggled with dropped passes and injury. Hopefully that won’t be the case for Cook although he struggled with drops in the past.

I think that McCarthy will switch out tight ends as he has in the past and will even have some fun with two tight end sets from time to time. I expect that the TEs will add another 1000 yards.

Running Backs

With Eddie Lacy’s body back in shape, his catch and run ability should be back as well. In 2014 Lacy caught 42 passes for 427 yards and had Packer Nation seriously pumped. The guy could run over you from out of the backfield and now he could catch in open space where the best thing teams could hope for was to pile on as many bodies as possible to bring him down. We’ll see more of that in 2016 to the tune of probably 400 yards.

All Together Now

I’ve got the Packers gaining 4400 total passing yards. That would have been enough to rank #6 in passing last season.

Competition for #1 Passing Attack in the NFL

4400 was enough to rank #6 last season… but that was LAST SEASON.

NFL Offenses

The Patriots are a perennial passing powerhouse, but they will be without Tom Brady for the first four games of the season. That changes things. Garoppolo has been a stable producer when he’s gotten on the field, but, let’s face it, he’s no Tom Brady. Also, the retirement of Peyton Manning changes things in Denver.

The Saints are always near the top and will continue to be as long as Drew Brees is slinging the rock in New Orleans.

The Lions have been a top ten passing offense frequently in the past few years. Of course, they just lost Megatron. I think it’s going to be tough for them to get back in the top ten passing attacks.

The Falcons struggled last season but will be back with a vengeance, in 2016.

NFL Defenses

Where teams rank in passing offense also depends, to some degree on the defenses they meet. And the Packers will be meeting some tough ones.

Right out of the gates the Packers meet the Jaguars who were a much better team last season and have made some improvements again this season. Particularly, they’ve improved their defensive backfield. A Jacksonville team that Aaron Rodgers and company would have torn apart a couple years ago might now be very difficult to get yards against. This is especially true because McCarthy will likely be very cautious with the number of reps Jordy gets in that first game of the season (if he’s even back on the field by that time).

Our NFC North rivals the Vikings will be tough again this year defensively. The defense itself hasn’t changed much but they were fifth in the league in points per game allowed at 18.9 last season and will likely be thereabouts this coming season as well.

The Packers meet the Titans in Tennessee this season. Despite being a rather atrocious team in the past, their defense has ranked in the top ten passing defenses and they just beefed up their defensive line. That said, if the Packers can keep Aaron upright in that game, the Titan’s defensive backfield still leaves something to be desired.

In the past four years, the Redskins have ranked in the top ten in pass defense three times, and they’ve added power to their defensive line this season.

Thoughts

While I think the Packers win the first game of the season against Jacksonville, I don’t think they do it in high scoring fashion. I expect Jordy will take very few reps in that game and the passing game will suffer because of it. So, the Packers will likely start out in a hole as far ranking in the passing game goes.

Over the course of the season though, the offense will get back to being the well-oiled machine it was in 2014 and give even teams with good pass defenses some serious fits.

Prediction: Packers’ pass offense ranks #5 in the league with 4400 yards.

What’s you’re prediction?

About  

Brady Augustine is co-owner and content creator for www.greenbaypackernation.com. He currently resides in Tennessee and also conspires with brother, JR on www.cheesnewswire.com

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